March 02, 2001

The Pope John Paul II Cultural Center, a new Washington attraction devoted to the exploration of faith and culture, opened in the nation's capital on March 22, 2001.

The privately funded, $60-million Cultural Center, located in Northeast Washington adjacent to The Catholic University of America, is a Catholic multimedia educational facility and museum designed to engage people of all denominations in the exploration of the role of faith in the modern age. Using new technology, such as audiovisual presentations and interactive computer displays, as well as artifacts from the past, the Cultural Center allows visitors to examine age-old
questions of spirituality in the new millennium. It is a place where people can re-examine their ideas, feelings and hopes through activities that are at once illuminating, thought-provoking and entertaining.

Treasures from the Church and the Vatican Museums and high-tech, interactive exhibits and audiovisual presentations allow visitors to the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center to have an experience that is both engaging and spiritual. The exhibit program, which was developed by the internationally renowned firm Edwin Schlossberg, Inc., features a "smart card" that will guide visitors on a dynamic, socially interactive journey tailored to their specific interests.

According to Father G. Michael Bugarin, the Center's director and chief executive officer, the central mission of the Cultural Center is to foster a spirit of understanding and respect among people of diverse religious and ethnic backgrounds by providing an environment in which individuals from many cultures might engage in spiritual discussion.

The 100,000 square-foot Center is located at 3900 Harewood Road, NE, approximately one-quarter mile north of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, and only a short drive from other popular tourist destinations such as the U.S. Capitol, the Mall and The White House. The Center will be able to accommodate 1,500 visitors per day.

More information on the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center is available at www.jp2culturalcenter.org.

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